Slowly but surely over the last year, we’ve been collecting miniatures. It wasn’t our intention to collect miniatures, but every time we see one, we kind of can’t resist. This old Pepsi crate is the perfect curio cabinet for our army of smalls! And now that there’s a designated place in the studio for them, there’s an excuse to pick up more when we see them! I don’t know what it is… they just make me giggle! Continue reading ☞
We’ve added some new “friends” to the shop recently, and are excited to show them off!
Jules of Stern & Faye recently sold the print farm and held an estate sale to share the pieces that wouldn’t fit in her new studio with the letterpress community. While it was really sad to be visiting the farm for the last time, we were also really excited to buy a full cabinet of beautiful type and a slant-top work surface (among other goodies). You really can’t beat a letterpress estate sale!
We’re been busy reorganizing the shop and babying our new type, but we’re working on a full catalog of print samples to show you – check back in for updates! Continue reading ☞
We’ve been on a bit of an estate sale shopping spree lately. (Cheapest shopping spree ever, but still a spree.) In the name of Constellation & Co. Vintage, we’ve been pairing lonely antique frames with unlikely ephemera to make beautiful framed art. It’s been fun, and we’ve got more to come! The only downside is… we’re having trouble parting with our creations.
This lovely damsel is from a 1934 issue of Needlecraft Magazine we discovered at an estate sale in our neighborhood. I’m in love with her blouse. Perfect summer fashion, straight from the 30′s. I can’t get over how lovely she is. More fun framed ephemera to come – but for now, this one is ours!
While in Michigan last month, Brad and I picked up this ‘Prentice Rubber Type Set at an antique store. As you see, at one point it cost 35 cents – we paid more than that, but not a whole lot more! The antique stores in Michigan had totally different pricing than we’re used to. Certain items (furniture, glassware, etc.) were priced quite high, but ephemera-type items (books, paper goods, and this beauty) were priced much lower than what you’d find in Seattle. (It was good news for us, of course!) I was so excited when we found this, and i’m thrilled to share it with you now! Continue reading ☞
Having a studio separate from our home has given us an excuse to collect all kinds of random things. In this new blog segment, I will show you photos of these collections, and tell you where they came from. Deal?
For some time now, we’ve been spending our Saturday mornings digging through estate sales, browsing off the beaten path antique stores and finding lovely vintage things. Our favorite things to discover and collect are ephemeral items: books, photos, advertising, letters, pamphlets, playbills, board games, etc. Most of these items (from the 1800′s all the way up the 1960′s) were letterpress printed, just like how Constellation & Co.’s products are printed now. This knowledge gives us a special affinity for these pieces of paper and ink history. Some of these items have found a special place in our home and studio. But more often than not, we find something, fall in love with it, and then realize we have no room for it. That’s where our new venture comes in! Continue reading ☞
The Dream is a series of 24 letterpress prints sized 5 1/2 inches square. Each print is one of a kind – only one final print of each piece exists, and each one is signed and framed. Brad and I designed and printed this series in collaboration, using our collection of wood type and vintage printer’s blocks, along with original linoleum carvings. It was one of the first major print projects we took on together, and we had so much fun dreaming them up (puns!) and putting them together.
Constellation & Co. moved into the 619 Western Artist’s building in January of 2011 – 101 years after the building was built in Pioneer Square.
619 was built in 1910 during an economic boom after the Alaskan gold rush. The building was used as a multipurpose warehouse and was the site of light manufacturing. Fishing nets, coffee beans and tavern punch cards are a few of the products that have been stored & made on the premises. In the late 1970′s, the first artists moved their studios into the building. Currently, more than 100 artists have studios in all six stories of this historic building. For more information on 619′s history, please visit the official 619 site.
The first Thursday of every month, the 619 Building is open for the Pioneer Square Art Walk which brings crowds of art lovers to the neighborhood. The 619 building has long been considered the epicenter of this monthly event, with the largest concentration of artists’ studios and gallery spaces in one building.
A few weeks ago, we picked up this amazing vintage Monopoly game at an estate sale. We didn’t know much about it at the time, but we knew it was cool!
The letterpress revival has been thriving in Seattle for some time – but there are definitely parts of the country that haven’t experienced it. Recently, my family took a road trip through the south, on an antiquing expedition. After asking around in lots of small towns about printing presses and printer’s blocks, my family was given the number of a gentleman who was a retired printer. They called him up and asked about his printing supplies, and specifically his collection of wood type. The gentleman was shocked that anyone would be interested in letterpress things – and told them that he threw away his large collection of wood type years ago! It breaks my heart to think about all of that history and craftsmanship thrown out with the trash. Here’s a public service announcement: If you or anyone you know (uncles, grandparents, elderly friends) were a printer and have wood type, printing presses, or printer’s blocks – PLEASE contact me, and I will purchase them from you, or find someone who will. These items are valuable and important – historically, and monetarily. Please don’t throw them away!
Annabelle is a Chicago Printing Press No. 11, made by the Sigwalt Company in the late 1800’s & early 1900’s. These presses were built on exactly the same principals as the large presses of the same era that we use to produce all of our products – this one is just miniaturized! (For example: our Chandler & Price press weighs 1,200 pounds, and this press weighs 8 pounds!) This particular style of press was often used by schools, offices, pharmacists, churches and hobbyists in the way a label maker or desktop computer would be used today. This size & style of press originally sold for $12.00, complete with type, ink, rollers, tweezers, paper, and more!
We like games, and we’re not ashamed to admit it. (We either never grew up or we’re old before our time!) We picked these up at a garage sale recently for a dollar apiece. Surprisingly, all the pieces are there (or so we think). We’ve yet to play them, but are excited to give them a try!
A few months ago, we walked into a very dark and cluttered antique store in Tacoma, WA. In true American Pickers fashion, we looked high & low, under things & over things, sifting through boxes and piles of unnameable old things. After some searching, Brad moved a pile of bicycle wheels aside and found something that made us both gasp. In that odd place, we found an 1880′s era Galley Proof Press by the Chandler & Price company (the same company that made our large platen press).
An iphone photo from the day we found the press.
Postcard featuring uncancelled vintage stamps. (This one is particularly patriotic, so we thought we’d share it with you today.) This one (and others like it) will be available at the Urban Craft Uprising next weekend, and on our etsy store the following week (unless they sell out!).
We were pleased to find this little beauty our our doorstep a few weeks ago from Brad’s grandparents’ home in Michigan.
It’s in great shape and came complete with flash, blubs, and manual. (And believe it or not, they had two! We are honored to have been given one.)
We took a trip to Fairlook Antiques on our lunch break this week. While perusing their large catalog section, we found this absolute gem.
The Kelsey Press Company was established in 1872 in Meriden, Connecticut. Kelsey produced small printing presses and supplies for hobby printers. This particular catalog is from the early 1930′s, and displays presses, supplies, and typefaces for sale from Kelsey.
These fabulous eyeglass frames came in the mail from Brad’s grandparents’ home in Michigan. His grandmother likely wore them in the 50′s. I’m not nearly hipster enough to wear them, but they are so charming and have won a place in our home. I really like things that are instant collections – perhaps i’ll frame them in a column like this and enjoy them on the wall.
Recently I helped a friend send out wedding invitations for her sister. Her husband did the design as a gift, we did the printing, and my friend (as maid of honor) took on the task of addressing and sending out the invitations. We took a trip to the post office to pick up stamps, and found that the options were dismal. Stops at 3 post offices revealed that Evergreens are nearly the only thing kept in stock in the Pacific Northwest. This outing also brought back memories of our own wedding invite stamp dilemma – we sent postcards for save the dates and response cards, and the only postcard stamps we could find were polar bears. Polar bears just didn’t match our theme.
We carefully craft each element of the wedding invitations we design & print. Paper, envelopes, ink colors, string, etc., are all chosen with unity in mind. However, when we hand off the finished pieces (typically wrapped in brown paper and tied with coordinating ribbon or string), we’re leaving stamp choice up to the couple. And until now, we hadn’t really thought about it.
If you’ve had the same stamp woes, don’t be daunted by the depressing options at your local post office. If you’re not interested in the traditional rings, roses, or cake, fear not! Here’s the good stuff.
A few months ago Sara and I were exploring the Goodwill Outlet in Sodo. If you’ve never been to a Goodwill Outlet, it’s where items that fail to sell in the retail stores are dumped into huge bins and sold at 75% off. You can pick up a bunch of different items there from records to dart boards to sketchy looking tools. They even sell clothes by the pound.
We went through the whole place and eventually landed in the books section. There was mountains of books piled with no particular rhyme or reason. While searching through the piles, Sara picked up “The Ford Treasury of Favorite Recipes from Famous Eating Places,” a mouth full of a name if I’ve ever heard one. She opened up to the inside cover and we immediately knew that we had found a gem. Originally published in 1950 by Simon and Schuster for the Ford Motor Company and designed by Artists and Writers Guild Inc., Treasury is a collection of recipes, paintings, and descriptions of famous and not so famous restaurants around the United States.